Four days and counting without power on rural Tararua farm

RNZ

More than a thousand properties in the lower North Island are still without power after last weeks storm. And a Rangiwahia farmer, Greg Clifton, told our reporter Emile Donovan the vague window for when it'll be reconnected isn't reassuring.

In a cold snap amid an icy winter, Rebecca Greaves has gone four days without power on a damaged farm.

She feels unwashed, but lucky as she stares down the barrel of day five.

The luck comes down to the fact the sheep are not shorn, the lambs haven't yet arrived, and neighbours are kind.

Rebecca Greaves of Pongaroa has been without power for four days - and counting.
REBECCA GREAVES

Rebecca Greaves of Pongaroa has been without power for four days - and counting.

But the novelty of having no power had now worn off.

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Living on a farm between the eastern Tararua towns of Pongaroa and Weber, she was used to power cuts but they normally lasted a day or less.

No power, snow, but at least the lambs haven't arrived.
REBECCA GREAVES

No power, snow, but at least the lambs haven't arrived.

So when the power went out four days ago as a winter snap moved up New Zealand, dumping up to 15cm of snow on their farm, they were ready.

The gas cooker and gas bottles came out and the fire was lit. Out came the board games.

"It was a bit of a novelty to start with ... but it got to the point we had no power to run the water pump," she said on Sunday afternoon.

Up to 15cm of snow fell on Rebecca Greaves' Tararua farm.
REBECCA GREAVES

Up to 15cm of snow fell on Rebecca Greaves' Tararua farm.

That meant there was no water to wash or flush the toilet - the latter problem sorted with a bucket of water from outside, and the former with a flannel.

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Then all the meat in the deep freeze started to defrost but, she said: "We are quite lucky."

Neighbours had power restored and after a few days unwashed they went down the road for a shower.

A borrowed generator saved the frozen meat.

But there was still no internet, meaning her work as a freelance journalist was proving difficult.

Meanwhile, the farm they lived on had suffered damage in the storm - fences and culverts had gone and there were slips.

There was still no firm sign of when power would be restored.

But, she said, she was still lucky.

 - Stuff

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